Tag Archives: coaching

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workplace mentoring

Workplace Mentoring Should Be About Learning

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There are several choices we make during workplace mentoring. We can do only show and tell and encourage people to memorize the steps or we can invite them to learn more too.

Technically, there is a significant difference between mentoring and coaching. Although the words are often used synonymously, they are different. Professional coaches spend decades honing their craft, mentoring is different, it is much more about show and tell.

There is still plenty of opportunity for the mentee. An opportunity to learn more about the process and procedures, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the how, the why, and the purpose.

When employees connect with the sense of purpose, they are much more committed to their job role. Not only are they more motivated, they are also more loyal. 

Memorize or Learn?

People can memorize the lyrics to a song yet they don’t necessarily learn something new.

We often put things into our memory. We may memorize features about our car, the software we use, and the menu at the local diner.

All of this is not necessarily learning.

Learning is more involved. It was why you had to learn more about math and not just memorize your multiplication tables.

Workplace Mentoring and Learning

When workplace mentoring takes mentees to a more advanced level of learning, not just memorizing, it benefits everyone. Just like in math class, they may seek only the answers, but learning the how and why will help with knowledge transfer and inspire a commitment to action.

You may be a mentor or mentee, learning more will always provide a deeper and more impactful experience.

It is likely much more than just a job.

For everyone.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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comparing-good

Comparing Good Outweighs Illustrating Bad

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Do you focus on what worked well or what needs improvement? There is a big difference. Comparing good performance is often more effective than pointing out shortcomings.

The psychology of work has never been more important. Worker engagement and performance need to be better than ever before and finding ways to build a high-performance team is more complicated that it seems.

The “do it or die” approach died long ago. While there may be still be pockets of this authoritarian approach it often only exists in the most remote rural areas where there are not many choices for employment.

Feedback on performance is critical to enhance the productivity and efficiency of the team. How feedback is delivered or experienced by the recipient will determine its effectiveness.

Is there a way to deliver feedback on what needs improvement without emphasizing the shortcoming? Some argue yes, some no, and some will say, “It depends.”

Novice feedback navigators will often suggest the sandwich method. It can work, but is only about as good as two-week-old pastrami.

This is where the psychology of work really comes into play. In simple terms, you’ll get more of what you focus on. For that very reason, it is more important to focus on good results instead of on poor or bad results.

Illustrating Bad

Here is a great example.

A call center manager suggests that to improve agent performance she works with each agent on an individual basis. An agent who receives poor feedback or gets a call elevated to the manager is subject to some individual performance review. The review begins with listening to the recorded call. Then corrective action on the poor performance is suggested.

This is illustrating, highlighting, and comparing performance against the bad.

A better way is comparing to good performance.

Comparing Good

A different call center manager decides morning huddles are an effective way to start the day. The huddles get everyone on the same page and positions the team to launch.

Appropriately preparing, this center manager listens periodically to some of the highest performers previously recorded calls and chooses one to highlight. In advance of the huddle she dissects the call looking for good moments of agent to customer interaction.

During the huddle she plays challenging parts of the previously recorded call, except she pauses the recording right before the agent interaction is delivered. During the pause she asks the team key questions, such as, “What would you do at this point? What would you say?”

This is a form of experiential learning, it invokes self-reflection. She asks openly for some reactions to her question and debriefs the whole group by highlighting the good, illustrating the good, and focusing on what went right.

In turn, her team delivers more and more of the good.

Higher Performing Teams

You get higher performing teams when you focus on positive performance instead comparing bad performance to good and asking for change.

That’s not all. When this performance management approach is used across time individual reflection starts to occur more often. It inspires learning and often employees start to self-identify short-comings on their own.

Consider that this a pull process, instead of push.

It is playing offense instead of defense. Both are important but be cautious of when, where, and how you place your emphasis.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace opportunity

Workplace Opportunity and Small Ponds

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What is your workplace opportunity? Does opportunity exist or are all things leveled up and there isn’t space or time for more?

It is an age-old story about big fish and small ponds. You know the one. The one that tells us it is easier to get noticed in small pond as compared to an entire ocean. Old news.

Yet, the small pond theory is certainly relevant.

Big Fish, Big Ponds

Does Apple really have to market the iPhone 11 Pro Max? Many would suggest that they’ve captured the market. If they own the market, is marketing necessary?

The easy answer is, “Yes.”

Apple sells the first iPhone 11 Pro Max to someone, perhaps after throwing a few prototypes to VIP’s, and creating a lot of marketing hype. They may even forecast production runs at more than 45 million in a quarter.

Yet, it all starts with that first sales transaction. After all of the marketing, the hype, and the brand reputation sets expectations. Sales begin.

They are a big fish.

It may be true for your workplace too. It may directly apply to your career.

Often it is assumed that people will go to the well-known resource. There is often a presumption of trust. In addition, people believe that they know exactly what they are getting.

Workplace Opportunity

There are two paths connected to workplace opportunity. One suggests you follow the known path. Assuming it has been tested and explored, there is an expectation for outcomes.

The second or alternate path suggests you know the shortcomings and limitations and as such, you must seek an outside expert. Bring in new blood. The known must be worse than the unknown.

Navigating workplace opportunity has its challenges. Being in the right environment (right pond) is important but should never be taken for granted.

Being the big fish in the smaller pond seems overwhelming attractive. Yet, the big fish wasn’t always that big. Either that, or the pond was smaller.

You’re branding and marketing yourself everyday. Costs are higher for larger ponds. Even for big fish.

One step at a time without any shortcuts.

Every fish has the opportunity to choose their pond.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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knowledge acquisition

Speaking of Knowledge Acquisition

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Is your career on track? Are you leading an employee department or team? What are you doing about knowledge acquisition?

I feel fortunate to meet so many new people through my work. Some are executives, some are front-line hard chargers. All of them face similar decisions about what happens next with their career or employee teams.

Two Problems for Knowledge Acquisition

The first problem is how fast you are able to acquire it. Once you have obtained the knowledge, you can start making positive change. A long road to knowledge acquisition means you are wasting precious time.

The second problem with knowledge acquisition is what you do with the new knowledge. Knowledge gained, but not used, doesn’t have much value. Practice and application of new knowledge is critical for change.

Therefore, there are at least two questions you should be asking yourself.

How can I gain more knowledge faster?

How can I ensure it is practiced?

Whether you are considering your own individual career or the development of employee teams, these questions apply.

Opportunity Cost

While there are not any real shortcuts, there are costs associated with opportunities missed. Learning can occur in many ways, how are you helping with forward progress? Have you hired a coach, a consultant, or attended educational opportunities?

What happens after a learning event? What will you give up in order to make room for something new? If you feel you are at or near capacity, you’re going to have to give something up.

Giving stuff up may be easier than you think. You can give up reliving past negative experiences. You can skip the energy it takes to participate in the workplace drama. Perhaps you have to stop fighting fires and start thinking more strategically.

Knowledge acquisition starts with an opportunity. What happens next is really up to you.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace authenticity

The Truth Behind Workplace Authenticity

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Workplace authenticity may be considered a core value. Are role models and leaders authentic in your workplace? Do organizational politics play a role?

In a recent seminar someone suggested that flexing your style is not a desirable attribute since you are not being the real you. The discussion point centered around workplace leaders serving as coaches.

Do you occasionally serve as a workplace coach?

Workplace Coach

Being a good coach is not about show and tell. A good coach is effective at inspiring change through questioning techniques.

Questioning techniques of course involve good communication skills and when you are working with your boss, a peer, or a direct report every situation may be unique. This uniqueness is what may require you to flex your style.

In my opinion, flexing your style to accommodate a situation and make things better is not the same as playing politics, being fake, or lacking sincerity.

Workplace Authenticity

Flexing your style means that you are willing to put in the emotional labor required to help improve the situation.

If your style is somewhat brash and direct, that won’t work for every situation. If your style is softer and more empathetic, that probably won’t work for every situation.

Working hard as a workplace leader to master the skills required to be a good mentor and coach means that with practice it will be the authentic you. Don’t confuse a strong work ethic that places value on harmonizing the workplace with a lack of honesty, integrity, or authenticity.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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schedule conflicts

Schedule Conflicts May Be An Excuse

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“I don’t have time,” is not always the real reason. The real reason may be that you haven’t made it a priority. The suggestion is that we have schedule conflicts and sometimes that legitimately happens, in other cases it is an excuse.

The truth is that people understand priorities. They may not always agree with them, but they understand the struggle. Suggesting, “I don’t know how I will fit that in,” is much softer than, “No, I’m not interested.”

People accept the passive response. It seems easier for everyone.

Acceptance of the excuse is often not ignorance. Nearly everyone recognizes that they have a few things that they would like to do, but they must limit it to only one at a time.

Workplace Excuses

In the workplace, in our job roles, it may become a crutch. A way, a method, or a reason, to avoid doing something that you really don’t want to do.

Our jobs are more than our technical skills. Our jobs require emotional labor. Stepping up and doing the things that are hard and that challenge us takes energy. In order to lead, we must sometimes face doing the painful, the unattractive, and the unglamorous work.

It may feel easy to throw out an excuse and skip the meeting. We can sometimes make a decision about what work we will complete and what work we will suggest we don’t have time to accomplish.

Schedule Conflicts

Excuses are useless, except to dodge the real work to be done. In some cases, it is to avoid the requirement of emotional labor.

Many people, will rise to the minimum level of requirements. They’ll do just enough to escape the imposing threat of competition, the fear of the iron handed boss, or slip by for the moment only to dodge the assignment for another day.

Schedule conflicts are always about priorities. Some of them important, some of them an excuse.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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more visible

How Will You Become More Visible?

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Out of bed and off to work. It’s a ritual that millions perform each day. Yet every day at best estimates at least half of them are thinking about making a job or career change. Have you considered how you’ll become more visible?

The numbers are staggering. The number of people searching for jobs or career advancement may be at an all-time high.

It once was a lot of work to type a resume, a cover letter, and an envelope. Today it digitally happens in just a few minutes. It makes it easier and easier to apply. The reality is that it makes it even harder to be found.

Being Discovered

Imagine I paint with watercolors, create masterful pictures with clever and inspirational messages, put a few in a frame and hang them on the wall in my office. How many people will know?

If I bake a cake, make a great Italian dinner, or grill a steak to perfection, how many people will know?

You might be the very best at what you do. You may be the next Tony Couch, Duff Goldman, or Seth Levine, but who will ever know if you aren’t visible?

More Visible

Your next career move may have a lot to do with your resume, what is on it, how it looks, and the masterful use of keywords. It won’t mean much when the hiring managers asks the staff, “Who do we know that would be perfect for this job?”

I talk with and coach a lot of people who are frustrated with their attempt to make a career move. They are frustrated about their resume or wonder if their card is appropriately punched. These things matter, but they aren’t everything.

Who you know, or perhaps said in a different way, who knows you, may matter the most.

Have a well stacked resume, but think more about building your personal brand.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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learning moments

Learning Moments From The People Who Get It

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Telling someone isn’t the way the most meaningful learning occurs. Knowledge transfer and retention are much more impactful in learning moments, which are much different from telling moments.

Frustrated workplace leaders discuss it with me often. They insist that they have instructed employees dozens of times, but still they do the wrong thing at the wrong time. Certainly, there may be many reasons for this, but one reason is that telling an employee may be different than helping them learn.

Learning Stories

People love stories. Some of the best storytellers are in fact great teachers. Stories can ignite learning moments when listeners connect with it emotionally.

In other cases, people are stuck in their habits. They hear the story but they really aren’t listening to learn, they are only listening to hear. There is a difference in the outcomes.

What happens when you believe you know the answer? Do you suggest a different path for those involved, but still they make the wrong choices? Logic often suggests that we must tell them again.

Whether we like to admit it or not, much of the power in learning comes with an emotional connection. When people are open to change or they desire change, it can occur easily. Sometimes we have to create learning moments, that moment when someone else becomes captivated enough to be inspired for change.

Evaluating Answers

Telling someone the answer is not nearly as powerful as when the person can evaluate why it is the best answer. Sure, we can teach to the test. When those being tested care enough to learn the answer, they can store it in their memory.

Many can argue, this is learning, but learning the correct answer is not always the same as understanding it.

This is precisely why advertising is designed to connect with your emotions. In the 1950’s or early 1960’s smoking was considered cool, and advertisers helped create that image. In the 1980’s we had the fried egg commercial that advised against drug use.

Today training programs or advertising campaigns may include gory safety videos, car accident scenes demonstrating outcomes of driving while distracted, or even active shooter programs that ignite fear in an attempt to make a difference for saving lives.

Learning Moments

Sometimes the best way you can help someone learn is by helping him or her discover the answer, not by telling them.

Good advice can make a difference, but often, learning moments don’t come from the mere act of advice.

Advice connected with personal experience is often much more valuable. Help someone figure it out and you’ll create a learning moment that sticks.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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comparing performance

Comparing Performance, Is That The Best Way?

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People who shop for a new car often compare feature by feature with a competitive brand. The same is often true for buying a television, a washing machine, or the new techie gadget. Do you believe comparing performance is important for your career or is it mostly counterproductive?

Amateur or Professional

Professional business coaching is an interesting skill. So many amateur coaches want to dive right in and give the textbook representation for what to do next. The reality is that it isn’t that simple. Each person is different, at a different place, with different needs, and as such, they need different coaching.

I love it when I talk with people trying to start a practice. They’ve often invested in training, but their training seldom teaches them that one size does not fit all. If there is an attempt to teach it, the students apparently fail to learn.

It happens with the fitness coach. Pick up that kettle bell and swing it until you puke.

And the change coach. You must let go of your fears. It is fear that is holding you back.

The truth of it often is that this is the recommendation that they use for themselves or something that has worked with a different client or is found on page 35 in the textbook. It is helpful and appropriate to some, but not all.

Data Comparison

The problem may be in the comparison. Data can be a great resource, but when the data is not used appropriately, it is not good data.

Many people find themselves comparing their performance to an expectation. That expectation may be based on observable data, past performance, benchmark data, or in some cases the expectations of others.

It may be that we are at a place where finding ways to be disappointed has never been easier. Some will compare their vacations, their home, or their eye makeup on social media. Others may observe job titles, inflated salaries, and someone’s MLM selling skills.

Their data is entirely based on their network of people, and frankly, it is easy to become disappointed. What many never consider is that the very data they compare to is exaggerated. It isn’t necessarily real. Of course the data may be real, but its origins and authenticity are questionable.

Those with research skills may quickly suggest that it is not valid or reliable.

Comparing Performance

Perhaps for your own individual performance the best comparison is against your own data. What (supposedly) worked for someone else may not be best for you. Try comparing performance against where you are at right now. Establish your own baseline and create goals appropriate for you.

It is easy to find someone else who has a better car, a better job, or is in better physical shape. What is the point of that? That isn’t your data, and you don’t even know if it is real.

Sometimes the best part about their data, is that it provides motivation. Motivation is good, just be sure to compare your performance to your own realistic goal.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Balance productivity

How to Balance Productivity and Worry

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Getting organized, understanding what needs accomplished, and making the best use of our time is important for every professional. Do you worry about obstacles, roadblocks, and asteroids? How do you balance productivity and worry?

Worth Worry?

We can worry about many things. Worry if our car can make the trip, if it will start in sub-zero temperatures, or if the air conditioning system will still function properly next season.

We may worry about paying for taxes, the age of the windows in our home or the roof over our head.

Career driven people may worry if they are on track, how the Company is doing, and will they get the promotion or do they need to find a new job.

People can worry chronically, about their life, their health, or how they’ll cover their MasterCard bill.

Worry can be disabling. Worry is stress, discomfort, anxiety, and more. It can turn to physical problems including illness or even death.

Does worry have any value? Worrying about tire pressure or wearing a seat belt has value. It makes us safer. So does wearing a helmet on a bicycle or motorcycle. Being conscious of debt to income ratio and the cost of food and housing also has some value.

Does thinking about risk and labeling it worry have any value? Will it make you more productive? Can it make you less productive?

Balance Productivity and Worry

What you accomplish in one hour today is worth a lot to you. How much you worry during an hour probably not so much.

Worrying and risk assessment has value when it causes us to alter our behaviors or habits into more productive outcomes. Consider a safer commute to work, with a seat belt, appropriate speed, and no texting. Mindful management of debt and paying the mortgage instead of taking a luxurious trip also has some value.

When you want to be both productive and successful you’ll have to decide how you want to spend your time and energy. Will you balance productivity and worry? Worry will destroy your energy, but productivity expands it.

Avoid the distractions that keep you from your best work.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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